Girls are the best, and I may be a little biased,” admits father of two Darin Brooks. “I hear people who have boys and sometimes they are like, ‘They are jumping off the second floor bannister and breaking their arm, digging in their nose and wiping it on each other,’ and here I am with my two princesses. I get to clean up toys once in a while and my 2-year-old, she is rocking and rolling. When she smiles at you and giggles, it is just amazing. Little Gemma is following in those footsteps.”
Brooks and wife Kelly Kruger, who had previously opened up to Digest about their struggles to conceive, were thrilled to hear that they were expecting again. “I was just ecstatic, and when we found out we were having another girl, I was even more excited,” he relays. “I was so happy. Kelly and I both were. I told my mom and she was like, ‘You’ll have to try again for a boy,’ and I was like, ‘Don’t put that in anyone’s head; let’s just deal with number two for a while.’ Obviously, we’d been talking about it, so it wasn’t any kind of surprise for us. We were planning on it and having fun and if it happened, it happened and if it didn’t, it didn’t. We were over the moon.”
As if expecting another baby wasn’t enough, “While Kelly was pregnant, we were selling houses, moving houses, getting a dog, all at the same time when we were having a baby, so we just like to make it that much harder on ourselves,” he adds.
Having already gone through the early stages with Everleigh, however, Brooks says he and Kruger were ready to do it again. “I guess we weren’t as nervous and unprepared as we were the first time,” he reflects. “We knew, ‘Okay, you need to set up the hospital room and all the things you need to pack. And, the cots they bring in there for the husband, they are uncomfortable, so you know to bring your own pillow and sheets. Okay, we got that. That’s cool. They come in every five minutes to make sure you’re alive and the baby is alive, so yep, I got it. I got the swaddle down, wrap this and wrap that, arms in….’ Getting back into the rhythm of things was not too hard. We remembered everything from the first time so this time, it was definitely easier. The first time when you drive home from the hospital, because they get you out of there so quickly, you’re like, ‘Is she breathing?’ And this time it’s like, ‘She’s fine. Is she turning blue? Nah!’ I’m like, ‘I need to stop at the store on the way home.’ ”
But managing a household with two small ones can be a little chaotic. “It’s a little hard,” Brooks concedes. “It’s a little nerve-racking when you make the change from one to two. It’s crazy, Maybe it’s easier when you go from two to three to four to 10. My cousin has four boys, and he’s like, ‘After one to two, it’s all the same.’ And everyone wants to help out. Everleigh is always willing to help out whenever she can. She wants to help her baby sister and she wants to do this and she wants to do that. Sometimes she doesn’t realize her own strength and you have to remind her to be careful with the top of the baby’s head, but she is very hands-on. Every once in a while, there may be an innate tinge of jealously because it’s all still new. It’s like, ‘Who are you, and what are you doing in my territory?’ But certainly not to the extent that I’ve heard other people have problems with jealousy and stuff like that.”
Brooks is enjoying watching daughter No. 1 develop into her own person. “Everleigh is a pistol, man,” he smiles. “She is so confident and independent. We were walking down the street the other day and I wanted to hold her hand when we crossed and she’s like, ‘Well, we’re not at the stop sign yet.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay. You’re right. Sure. We can wait until the stop sign to hold hands and then cross.’ She’s so funny. For some reason, it’s easier for me to put Everleigh to bed. I will read her a couple of books, we will turn the lights out and we will talk about the day. She’ll tell me what she loved about her day. She is so freaking damn cute! Today, we were wrestling about the office and she was giggling and I just love her laugh. With Everleigh and that ‘terrible twos’ stuff, she’s going through testing phases and my parents were just recently here and she was having a bit of a tantrum and I was like, ‘I was an angel,’ and my mom just looked at me and she was like, ‘Yeah, sure you were.’ So it’s really come full circle.”
The actor is very involved with the girls and takes an active role in the household. “I’ve been trying to help out more,” he says. “I’ll take care of breakfasts and dinners and cleaning up, that kind of stuff. There are a lot of times I’ll take Everleigh into my office and we’ll play. We like to take walks and give Kelly a break, so I’ll strap Gemma to my chest and we’ll head out, so she can have some alone time. We always try and figure out ways to help each other and make it work.”
Parenting together has shown Brooks a new side of his wife. “I definitely appreciate all she does and all that she sacrifices to keep this family together and going,” he praises. “She makes sure our kids eat right. She keeps them safe. I commend her for everything and I definitely have a deeper appreciation for everything she does and for the way her mind works. I don’t know if I understood that before, but I do now.”
It’s also strengthened the bond he has with his family. “It was so nice having my mom and dad and brother here for a couple of weeks so they could meet Gemma and play with Everleigh and do art with her,” Brooks shares. “They painted. It was a really good time. With Gemma, she’s 3 months old and my mom will be like, ‘She’s just like you. You don’t remember?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t remember that at 3 months old!’ ”
And as he looks to the future, his dreams for his girls are very straightforward. “I honestly just want to give them a set of tools to make the right decisions and be the best that they can be,” he offers. “Strong and capable and intelligent and smart and funny women. That’s all I truly care about. I want them to rule the world and maybe even be president.”
With his personal life in full bloom, Brooks also has some big irons in the fire professionally. “There are several projects on our end that are in production,” he shares. “We are putting the pieces together on a number of things, and I am spreading myself a little thin at times. I just finished voicing the last episode of the second season of THE CROODS, so we’ve got a lot of episodes in the bank now. We’re still doing pickups and things like that to finalize episodes. You can see that on Hulu. They release six or seven episodes at a time, so that’s cool. I started that during the pandemic, so it was really cool to walk into the closet in your PJs and go to work doing a voice. Doing THE CROODS has been so much fun because it’s so different. The voice-over actors are so great and they have great timing. They’re amazing to hear, especially when you see the final product. I am so impressed with the entire team of writers and directors. They are incredibly talented people. I’m just learning something new every day and soaking it up.”
He also has a new series for Apple TV+, AMBER BROWN. “It’s based on a series of books and they have a huge following,” he says. “Bonnie Hunt is the executive producer and writer and director on that. She’s just amazing. It stars Sarah Drew from GREY’S ANATOMY [April]. She’s the mom and Carsyn [Rose] is a very talented young actress who plays the title role. It’s a really fun coming-of-age show. I play Max, who is sort of the new boyfriend after her parents go through a divorce and who’s trying to win points with Amber. It’s really great. That will come out on July 29th. I’m also working on something that a buddy of mine wrote, which is very comedic, so we are putting that together with my producing partners. We’re also working on some unscripted stuff.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s done with B&B, though his appearances there have been few and far between of late. And as for Wyatt and Flo, “I think this may be the longest engagement in the history of BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL!” exclains Brooks. “As far as I know, things are good with Wyatt and Flo, and I love to come into the studio to check in with everybody, but I believe they are happy and we’ll see what comes next — just like in real life!” w
Just The Facts:
Birthday: May 27
Hails from: Honolulu, HI
Wedded Bliss: Married to Kelly Kruger (ex-Mackenzie, Y&R et al) since March 21, 2016.
Daddy’s Girls: Daughter Everleigh Jolie was born September 22, 2019. Gemma Wynter came along on January 29, 2022.
Make That Change: “I’ve never been a tough, testosterone kind of guy, but I definitely have become more soft and patient and understanding about a lot of things.”
Down The Line: “I am probably going to move out when they turn into teenagers and just let mom handle it, because I will be polishing the baseball bats to intimidate the guys who come over. My buddies and I will have a poker night whenever someone comes to pick up my daughter for a date, and we will intimidate him.”
Small World: “Matthew Waterson, who I worked with on THE CROODS, his wife [Rachel Kimsey] played Mackenzie on Y&R, as well! When we first started talking, I was like, ‘Shut up! My wife was Mackenzie, too!’ ”
Father’s Day Plans: “I think we are just going to chill. We are very low-key, especially with everything going on. I will be happy if we order sushi from our favorite sushi place, as long as we are all together.”